Blade hits out at ministers in 'Gupta network'

18 December 2016 - 02:02 By QAANITAH HUNTER

SACP boss Blade Nzimande has launched a scathing attack on President Jacob Zuma's administration, accusing some of his cabinet colleagues of being part of a "Gupta-captured network" running a "parallel state".

In a secretariat report delivered behind closed doors at the SACP augmented central committee this week, Nzimande - the minister of higher education - had harsh words for fellow ministers who he accused of operating outside "cabinet discipline".

He appeared to be referring to Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who was rebuked by Zuma after issuing a pro-Gupta statement that he claimed represented cabinet consensus.

Nzimande's remarks came a week after he told a Young Communist League gathering that he was not afraid to lose his cabinet job if that was the price of speaking out.

His criticism of Zuma supporters is a clear indication that the gloves are coming off in the presidential succession debate.

The SACP is said to be aligned with those backing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, while Zuma supporters want his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - outgoing chairwoman of the AU Commission - to succeed Zuma.

Nzimande said things had started going wrong in the Zuma administration after the 2014 elections.

"This latter administration has been marked by even more aggressive and reckless interventions by the Gupta-captured network, which often conducts itself as a shadowy, parallel state ... outside of collective cabinet discipline and above any answerability to parliament or the ANC," he said.


Nzimande lashed out at the Gupta family, saying they had made their wealth through the "parasitic milking of public resources".

The SACP needed to "expose the hypocrisy of the arguments" used by "Gupta-captured, conservative populism", he said.

"They claim to be anti-imperialist, as if illegal money laundering and expatriation of surplus to Dubai and other tax havens strikes a blow for national sovereignty."

The Guptas had captured the ANC's institutional machinery, as could be seen in the "brazen manipulation of internal elections, membership lists, deployments, etcetera", he said.

"Not since 2007 have we seen such signs of division among national leadership and wilful bypassing of ANC- and cabinet-mandated positions on matters relating to the SABC, SAA, digital migration, nuclear energy and the so-called Zwane task team on the banks," he said.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, himself an SACP central committee member, told the meeting that no member of cabinet would be purged for speaking out against Zuma's leadership.